Black Middle Class:The Problem with Black Business Movements
The Black Empowerment Project raised a very valid question, one that has yet to be responded to, nor answered by any of the Black economic movements. That question is how do we achieve Black economic independence? Now, the question suggests the answer. The answer is, by build Black economic intradependence and independence. But, all the Black economic movements completely fail to even formulate a plan to encourage Black economic independence.
Now, Dr. Claud Anderson, in his powernomics movement, had a very sensible idea, but it shared the same limitation as the Marcus Garvey movement, it had a singular focus in one product, albeit a very good one. Dr. Anderson wanted a vertical monopoly: fisheries, transportation, restaurants. Garvey wanted ships for transport and cargo.
But, the truth that Katrina showed us, is that Black people need localized economies of scale. We need to grow our own food, make our own clothes, make our own consumer products. No Black economic or business movements even discuss this. While there are Black manufacturing and some of the largest engineering and design firms in the world, they are not plugged into any of these movements. Their chief clients and customers are white consumers and businesses.
In doing research for this article I looked up and looked into whether or not Blacks have manufacturing, Black construction, Black consumer goods plants, and found we do. We have everything we need to build strong economic bases for communities.
So what’s the problem? Ego!
Black people suffer from ego, like everyone else. The leaders of these movements either don’t do any research, which only took me about an hour, or they want to reinvent the wheel themselves. The movements that call for building businesses, always want to start from scratch. It is insanity. Instead of them reaching out to Black businessmen who have already created the manufacturing or have franchises ready to go for retail sites, they ignore them . They want to build their own.
But, they are so short sighted, even in business building. They don’t think community planning, they think business planning. So instead of them planning out good, consumer goods and construction, they’ll plan out one restaurant. I mean come on.
A lot of Black communities live in food deserts. They desperately need grocery stores, with fresh food, not canned or packaged. These Black economic movements should create large grocery stores, with several internal retail outlets for needed services: restaurants, banking, mail. Several of the largest Black businesses are franchise owners. These Black men own hundreds of franchises of fast food or chain restaurants. It would be nothing to partner up with them inside a grocery store. You could almost be independent with just one mega grocery store, per community. Couple that with production from Black farms going to those same grocery stores and you have nearly completed the circle.